In this post, I want to talk specifically about diet. I know I know it’s all we hear and read about nowadays.
Should we eat meat or shouldn’t we? Should we try the Atkin’s diet, the Paleo diet, the 5:2 diet, the juice diet, soup diet?
Again we are bombarded with information on all kinds of diet.
I believe nutrition is an equally important part of overcoming arthritis and so will be looking at what is ultimately the best diet for arthritis sufferers.
Aiming for an anti-inflammatory diet
We know that arthritis and inflammation go hand in hand, so surely the best approach for us in terms of diet is to eat foods that are less acidic.
I think we have to look more at foods that do the job of neutralizing acid in the body, the more I have looked into it and tried different things the more conclusive the answer was becoming.
Of course, this means avoiding fast food, completely. Before I carry on I don’t want this to become a preachy article where you think I am acting superior for suggesting this.
I am attempting to fully implement what I will be suggesting for myself and I have had many setbacks.
I like a takeaway as much as anyone else and still have cravings, as I mentioned before in this article.
We are surrounded by adverts for fast food restaurants, they have gone from not existing, to being an occasional treat, to now being part of our diet.
Mothers throw away phrases
Eat your vegetables! An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
We all heard them growing up, I’m sure many of you say them to your children now and without sounding too much like Norman Bates, Mother knows best!
Meat takes centre stage on our plate at any meal, for most people, although I have noticed a growing number of vegetarians and vegans.
The “growing number” is only relative to recent decades, who’s to say that our cavemen ancestors didn’t consume a mainly plant-based diet?
After all, it would have taken a lot more effort to kill a cow, skin it, prepare it and cook it and where would they store the rest of it, so it didn’t go bad?
The answer is who knows, there’s nobody around from that time, to speak truthfully about how they lived and the debates about it rage on, seemingly forever.
But as arthritis sufferers, in particular, should we be having meat? Or are the fruits and vegetables alluded to by our parents another way in helping us overcome our disease?
Getting the percentages right!
By now, you will guess where this is heading, as arthritis sufferers I feel fruits and vegetables should heavily outweigh anything else we eat.
The more I have looked at it, the more I feel everyone should be doing this, but this is aimed at cause and effect for arthritis.
They say something like every extra pound of weight puts ten pounds more pressure on your knees and ankles.
Being overweight isn’t healthy for anyone, but for arthritis sufferers, it makes the condition so much worse.
Just imagine if you were losing weight and for every pound you lost you were alleviating ten pounds of pressure, I am sure your knees and ankles would thank you!
It’s no surprise to me when I speak to people who have recently become vegetarian or vegan that they tell me how much younger, fitter and healthier they feel.
Nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables all have fibre in them which is a staple of a healthy diet and digestive system, nuts and seeds give you essential fats that the body needs.
I am a meat eater and always have been, that part I want you to know.
In recent years I have dramatically cut my meat intake and dramatically upped my fruit and vegetable intake. Do I feel better for it? Yes. Is that coincidence? No.
The truth is I am gravitating more towards a vegan diet at the minute. I feel it may hold a key to help overcome my arthritis but of course, time will tell.
It interests me that there is less auto-immune disease and cancer in people who eat a vegan diet, as opposed to those who eat meat regularly.
To be clear I don’t dislike meat and don’t condemn people who eat it, I still eat it in smaller amounts and enjoy it, but just because you enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Nowadays with all the meat and dairy alternatives in supermarkets, it has never been easier to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Although I do recommend looking at recipes, to make meals yourself and using organic produce where possible and affordable.
I am going to make a conscious effort to move towards the diets mentioned above in order to see what effect they have on my arthritis and will, of course, get back to you.
In the meantime as always I am keen to hear from you, your thoughts and or experiences, maybe you have tried this and it’s worked, maybe you’ve tried it and it hasn’t.
Part of me was reluctant to write this, most people don’t like feeling that they are being told their diet is wrong and that’s not my intention.
The aim of this site is always to uncover ways to combat arthritis and chronic pain.
P. S for those who enjoy weight training as I do and are worried about the lack of protein in a vegetarian or vegan diet, there is, of course, supplements that are vegan.
Or consider Popeye, he got his protein from spinach and it is, in fact, a great source of protein.
For those who want a more real-life example, consider googling Patrik Baboumian, he holds the world log lift record for under 105kg and once said this:
“I just found myself thinking that if I would have to kill the animals I ate with my own hands I couldn’t because I was too compassionate. I felt that I was fooling myself eating meat considering my inability to kill an animal so I just thought I’d better be honest to myself and stop eating meat.
This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day. Don’t listen to those self-proclaimed nutrition gurus and the supplement industry trying to tell you that you need meat, eggs and dairy to get enough protein.
There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go vegan and feel the power!”
All the best
I did try to stick to a vegeterian/vegan diet for some time, I felt better and it did reduce arthritis pain a little.
I stopped as I found myself eating too many carbohydrates and packaged foods.
I now try to follow a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting but the focus is still around getting enough vegetables and salad with plenty of essential fats.
You can read about the ketogenic diet here.
As I have said before just because I wasn’t comfortable with a way of eating such as vegetarian doesn’t mean that it won’t be the right thing for you.
Nobody really knows the optimum way for us to eat, it’s all guesswork and trial and error. So get out there and get trying things!